Watchdog Group Calls for Bold New Leadership at the FDA

David Williams

March 5, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace Morgan
March 5, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, The Washington Post reported that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is stepping down from his post (in about a month) after serving as agency head for almost two years. These reports, confirmed by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, are a stunning development given Commissioner Gottlieb’s recent efforts to enact a near total-ban on the sale of life-saving e-cigarettes.

Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) president David Williams responded to the news, discussing how Gottlieb’s departure will impact the agency: “While President Trump has presided over an unprecedented period of deregulation leading to a record economic boom, the FDA has unfortunately let the team down and shunned innovation over the past two years. During his time at the agency’s helm, Commissioner Gottlieb rightly identified cigarettes as one of the largest harms to human health, while bizarrely waging a war against reduced risk products like e-cigarettes or new heat-not-burn technology to wean smokers off of cigarettes.”

Williams continued, noting that, “innovative tobacco harm reduction products have been proven in multiple studies to be 95 percent safer than cigarettes, and have the capacity to save 6.6 million lives. Yet the Commissioner did his best to deny the science and keep these products off the shelves. The FDA continues to sit on IQOS’s application, more than two years after receiving applications to bring the product to market. By blowing past the 180 statutory deadline for the product, the agency signaled to smokers it didn’t care about their well-being, and to innovators that their products would have a tough time ever coming to market.”

Williams concluded: “With the resignation of Commissioner Gottlieb, President Trump has a real opportunity to kickstart regulatory reform at the FDA. But doing so will require the right leadership. The agency needs a leader willing to allow life-saving innovations to have fair and fast regulatory consideration. Millions of lives, and billions of dollars in health-related expenses for taxpayers, hinge on finding the right person for the job and ensuring their speedy confirmation.  We are excited to work with new FDA leadership to make bold moves in harm reduction in smoking and promoting innovation in many areas of the US economy.”